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Boris Johnson remains stable in ICU, not on Covid-19 ventilator, says minister deputising for UK PM


London, Apr 07: UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputising for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he is in intensive care with coronavirus, said the UK PM is a fighter who will pull through the illness and be back in charge soon.

Boris Johnson remains stable in ICU, not on Covid-19 ventilator, says minister deputising for UK PM

During the daily Downing Street briefing on Tuesday evening, the senior Cabinet minister confirmed that Johnson, 55, remains stable in ICU at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and has not required the help of a ventilator for his breathing.

"I’m confident that he'll pull through because if there's one thing I know, he's a fighter. He'll be back at the helm leading us through this crisis in short order," said Raab.

Striking a personal note, he said: "He’s not just our boss, he’s also our colleague and our friend. All of our thoughts with the Prime Minister and his family."

Raab, who is also the First Secretary of State, said the Cabinet has "very clear instructions" from the Prime Minister while he remains in hospital and his whole team will be working on implementing those instructions in the government’s fight against the pandemic.

He added: "Decision making by government is made by collective Cabinet responsibilities, so that is the same as before. "But we've got very clear directions, very clear instructions from the Prime Minister, and we're focused with total unity and total resolve on implementing them so that when he's back, I hope in very short order, we will have made the progress that he would expect and that the country would expect." Raab reiterated a Downing Street statement earlier on Tuesday about Johnson receiving "standard oxygen treatment" and breathing without any assistance, such as mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.

"He remains in good spirits and in keeping with usual clinical practise his progress continues to be monitored closely in critical care," Raab said.

He added: "This is a shock to all of us. And following Cabinet discussions today, I can reassure the Prime Minister and we can reassure the public that his team will not blink or flinch in the task ahead at this crucial moment.

"We will keep all of our focus and all of our resolve, with calm determination, on delivering the government's plan to defeat the coronavirus."

The minister also gave an update on the daily figures related to COVID-19 in the UK, which shows the death toll rising to 6,159 after a record increase of 786 in a single day. He urged the public to continue to follow the strict social distancing rules in place because the worst thing the country could do was "take its foot off the peddle" at this stage.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, said the number of new cases "could be moving in the right direction" but it would not be clear "for a week or so". "There is a fairly steady increase in numbers. It's possible that we're beginning to see the beginning of change in terms of the curve flattening a little bit. We won't know that for sure for a week or so," he said.

(with PTI inputs)

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